Apple Under Fire For Removing Apps it Believed Were Gambling Related



Staff member
May 3, 2008
In May this year, the Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA) reached out to Apple and asked it to remove apps belonging to unlicensed gambling operators from the App Store.

The gambling authority told Apple that this move was to comply with the country’s national gambling regulations.
The only two gambling applications that could remain in the App Store, wrote the NGA, were Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto.

“It is prohibited for all other gambling operators without a Norwegian license to offer, mediate or market gambling services in Norway,” wrote NGA to Apple. “This is a result of a restrict responsibility policy.” The authority also went on to say that the aim of the prohibition was primarily to protect consumers in Norway from developing gambling problems.

At the beginning of August, Apple announced that it was moving to drop all unlicensed gambling applications from the App Store.

A week later, and several developers have come out angrily against Apple, accusing the group from wrongly removing their apps from the App Store as part of its unlicensed operators purge. Apple wrote to developers, telling them that their apps would be removed in order to “reduce fraudulent activity and comply with government requests to address illegal online gambling activity.”

“We are no longer allowing gambling apps submitted by individual developers,” Apple wrote. “This includes both real money gambling apps as well as apps that simulate a gambling experience. As a result, this app has been removed from the App Store. While you can no longer distribute gambling apps from this account, you may continue to submit and distribute other types of apps to the App Store.”

The problem, however, is that that many of the apps removed by Apple were not related to gambling in any way. The frustrated companies took to social media such as Twitter to express their frustration with Apple and the way the issue has been dealt with. Some of those unwittingly affected include Gifferent (a gif-sharing service) and the Polish app iMagazine.

Interestingly, the app removals were not restricted to the Norwegian public only, and they apply to the worldwide App store.

The developer of the Gifferent app, Simon Stovring gave an interview to the BBC and said: “Apple says these apps contain gambling but they don’t reveal how they have detected this. It seems like an unfortunate but honest mistake.”

Apple has apparently read some of the complaints and reversed several its decisions, as BBC reports that some of the removed apps are now back on line.

The developer of the poker simulation game, THTouch also expressed his frustration at the app being culled from the App Store.

“It doesn’t matter whether it involves money or is just a simulation, gambling apps by individual developers are now banned.”

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